Getting any child to start homework can be hard, but getting a child with ADHD to start can sometimes seem impossible. They may be wanting to play video games, watch TV, run around outside, but at some point they need to start. Try to ask the question “What do you hope to accomplish today?” instead of “You need to start now.” Question 1 requires an actual answer and is constructive, where as question 2 can easily be answered with “No”, and a possible tantrum.
Ask leading questions that force your child to think about the big picture and problem solve. Asking “Did you study for tomorrow’s test?” may very well lead to a fight. Instead you can ask “What should we do first to get ready for tomorrow’s test?” Or you may ask “What events this week might get in our way of studying and homework?” This forces them to use executive functioning and plan out their time.
Kids with ADHD have alot of trouble estimating time. They may think it will only take them 15 minutes to get ready in the morning, where in reality it can take closer to an hour. How many mornings are spent screaming hurry up when the grown up realizes they are going to miss the bus, but they think they’ve got it all under control?
It is a good idea once they finish the task at home, regardless of how long it took, to actually discuss with them the length of time. Then discuss what were the events that caused slow downs and strategies to help minimize those the next time.
The long term assignment
It’s only a matter of time before the first long term assignment for school comes home. Again this can be challenging due to the organization and time management required to be successful. The key is to help your child break down the assignment into manageable chunks. A tangible reward such as several Pokemon cards at each milestone can help turn abstract time management into something concrete.
Talk with your child
The biggest thing to remember is that you are on the same side as your child, remind them of that. You are not the enemy and you really do want them to succeed. Help them to put words to their feelings. If you notice they are very frustrated doing math homework, you can say “I see you are getting frustrated while trying to figure that out. What can I do to help you?” You may get screamed at, but try your best to keep your cool. Sometimes just your physical presence is enough for them to know you care.